Advocates’ International Youth Activist Network (iYAN) consists of youth activists and adult allies from low and middle-income countries who are working to influence policies and programs in their countries and internationally to support improved youth reproductive and sexual health. Members of the iYAN connect to share information about their work; are provided information about scholarships and networking opportunities; get up-to-date information on downloadable advocacy materials and tool kits; and receive a monthly newsletter with information on advocacy, youth activism, and mobilization on important issues like sex education, access to contraception, and prevention of adolescent maternal mortality and HIV.
What’s Going on at Advocates for Youth?
Advocates provides technical inputs to comprehensive sexuality education curriculum materials in Lesotho, in partnership with UNESCO and UNFPA. As part of efforts to support the development and implementation of comprehensive sexuality education in Southern and East Africa, in collaboration with UNESCO and UNFPA, Advocates has been working closely with counterparts in Lesotho to review Life Skills Education teachers’ and learners’ books to support inclusion of comprehensive sexuality education. Core to the development of the materials is the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, which provides a basic minimum package of topics and learning objectives for a sexuality education programme, by age range, located here, as well as Doug Kirby’s logic model for developing curricula to reduce adolescent sexual risk, located here. Lesotho’s next steps will include finalizing and pre-testing the materials, so stay tuned!
Advocates keeps up the pressure for youth sexual and reproductive health and rights in the post-2015 development agenda.Advocates has been closely following developments of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations in New York. OWG11, which took place in May, resulted in a zero draft of proposed goals and targets on sustainable development for the post-2015 development agenda. Advocates is concerned to see that the draft was very weak on adolescents and youth, with only a few references to young people under the education and employment focus areas. Further, the draft does not include a target on sexuality education nor are there any references to adolescent girls or adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health. Advocates has written to U.S. Government representatives engaged in the OWG process to ask that they prioritize adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health in OWG12, taking place now. You too can engage by tweeting messages such as the following:
- The time to safeguard our health, education and our human rights is now! #sdgs #post2015 #OWG12
- Comprehensive Sexuality Education is a clear priority for both young people & member states #sdgs #post2015 #OWG12
- We demand #CSE that promotes respect for #humanrights, #tolerance, #genderequality and #nonviolence for young people and adolescents #sdgs#post2015 #OWG12
- Let’s not make the mistake of leaving #adolescents #girls behind #sdgs #post2015 #OWG12
- 281,102 ppl demand recognition of young women’s sexual & reproductive rights #Post2015 @amnestyonline
- 281,102 ppl demand Young women’s leadership at all levels #Post2015 @amnestyonline
Read All About It!
Divisions over Gender Complicate Development Agenda. As the U.N. focuses on refining its Post-2015 Development Agenda, divisions surrounding issues of population and development continue to plague consensus on a universal way forward. “People have to be at the centre of development,” Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), told IPS. “I think we are beginning to see a greater commitment [of governments] to deliver on gender parity, girls rights, issues of gender-based violence and girls education.” To read this article, go here.
Iran’s population drive worries women’s rights, health advocates. Iran’s supreme leader has called for a population increase, in an edict likely to restrict access to contraception that critics fear could damage women’s rights and public health. In his 14-point decree, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said increasing Iran’s 76 million-strong population would “strengthen national identity” and counter “undesirable aspects of Western lifestyles”. To read this article, go here.
Liberia: High Maternal Mortality Reported. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Thursday disclosed that the rate of maternal mortality in the country is still high despite a five percent decrease. Maternal death, or maternal mortality, also “obstetrical death” is the death of a woman during or shortly after a pregnancy. Maternal death is caused by hemorrhage (outpouring or inundation), blood clot, infection, unsafe abortion, high blood pressure and obstructed labor. It is responsible for the deaths of millions of women in Sub-Saharan Africa who go to give birth. To read this article, go here.
Nigerians Hold Second Day of Protests Over Mass Abductions. Hundreds of protesters marched in the streets of the Nigerian capital on Wednesday, demanding that the government do more to find scores of schoolgirls abducted by armed militants more than two weeks ago. Parents of the girls have turned up sick in hospitals, overcome with worry. Some have even gone into the bush to search for the girls themselves, armed only with bows and arrows in the heartland of an Islamist insurgency. To read this article, go here.
Senegal rape: 11-year-old girl denied abortion gives birth to twin boys. The 10-year-old girl who was raped but unable to terminate her pregnancy due to Senegal’s ban on abortion has given birth to twin boys. In an interview with the Senegalese women lawyers’ association, the girl, who has just turned 11, was asked whether she was pleased that the rapist – her neighbour – was in police custody. “No,” she answered. “I want him to be killed because he has stopped me from going to school.” To read this article, go here.
Aids, pregnancy and the church: young Hondurans take a stand. As of 2014, 25% of Honduran babies were born to teen mothers, the second highest teen pregnancy rate in Latin America, according to the United Nations. In addition, new United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) statistics show that Honduras registers 60% of all new HIV infections reported in Central America. To read this article, go here.
Chile: Santiago metro in ‘tolerance-for-all’ campaign. A campaign to promote tolerance towards gay people – as well as people with disabilities, pregnant women and the elderly – has been launched on the metro in Santiago, it is reported. Posters urging respect and diversity are up in all 108 of the Chilean capital’s metro stations, the Santiago Times reports. The project is a collaborative effort by the metro and the Chilean Movement for Integration and Homosexual Freedom (Movilh), and is backed by the EU. To read this article, go here
Indian Girls Break Taboos on Menstrual Hygiene. Fifteen-year-old Nasreen Jehan, a student in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, proudly flaunts a yellow and red beaded bracelet encircling her wrist. This humble accessory, she tells IPS, is her most treasured possession. “It helps me keep track of my menstrual calendar,” says the 9th-grader, who attends a government-run, all-girls school in a town called Bettiah. “Also, it helps me talk about menstruation with my friends.” To read this article, go here.
World Population Day, July 11, 2013. In 1968, world leaders proclaimed that individuals have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children. Forty years later, modern contraception remains out of reach for hundreds of millions of women, men and young people. World Population Day 2013 is an opportunity to reaffirm the right of all people, including young people, to plan their families. Community and youth leaders can organize activities and events to encourage access to voluntary family planning services and contraception for young people and to support young people’s freedom to decide if, when, and how many children to have. When people can plan their families, they can plan their lives. They can plan to beat poverty. They can plan on healthier mothers and children. They can plan to gain greater equality for women. So, plan to support World Population Day this year! There are many ways to raise awareness of the rights of young people to sexual and reproductive health and rights on World Population Day:
- Organize events to generate widespread attention about the importance of sexual and reproductive health and family planning services that are youth-friendly.
- Consider inviting local community leaders to an event to help spread the message.
- Spark discussion with seminars, conferences and debates.
- Host music, theatre, poster, or essay contests.
- Work with community groups to create skits that educate others about the importance of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and family planning programs in your community.
- Blog about it at.
To find out more, check out the World Population Day website. You can also read and use materials from UNFPA’s family planning resource kit. And don’t miss out on the following publications from Advocates that talk about these important issues:
- “The Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young People in Low- and Middle-Income Countries”:
- “Youth and the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic”
- “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women and Youth in the Context of Climate Change”
- Youth and Unsafe Abortion: A Global Snapshot
My Voice Counts!
Participate in 2nd Annual Girls Speak Out at the United Nations.Organizers of the 2nd Annual Girls Speak Out at the United Nations are looking for girls to speak out in honor of the International Day of the Girl. They are looking for stories and reflections in the form of poetry, art, videos, stories, songs or declarations about what it means to be a girl. To submit your work, you must:
- Be a girl (or group of girls) 18 years of age or younger.
- Answer the question: what does it mean to be a girl where you live?
- Tell us your story. Send your original work to: firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, age, country and contact information by Friday, August 1st
Length requirements for submissions:
- Short stories (maximum 500 words) and poems (maximum 250 words)
- Art or Photos: send a picture with a short 50 – 100 word description
- Video or music (maximum length of 3 minutes)
This effort is organized by Day of the Girl Summit in partnership with iTwixie, Girls Learn International, Sage Girl, SPARK Movement, and The Working Group on Girls. For more information, go here. Keep spreading the world and join the movement to #BringBackOurGirls Keep up the pressure and mobilize to #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter and via the global petition urging the government of Nigeria to do all it can to bring the 276 girls kidnapped in April at their school in Maiduguri, Nigeria. To access the petition, which has more than 1 million signatures now but still needs about 500,000 more, go here.
Check out the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage. UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) welcomed the first African Union campaign to end child marriage, launched in Addis Ababa on May 29th. Although civil society actors have been pressing hard on the issue of child marriage for several years, it is the first time that such a large range of government officials, organizations, United Nations agencies and individuals, have collectively vowed to end child marriage, a practice that affects over 17 million girls – 1 in 3 – across the continent. Globally, 9 out of the 10 countries with the highest rates of child marriage are found in Africa -namely Niger (75 per cent), Chad and Central African Republic (68 per cent), Guinea (63 per cent), Mozambique (56 per cent), Mali (55 per cent), Burkina Faso and South Sudan (52 per cent), and Malawi (50 per cent). Aside from UNFPA and UNICEF, the Campaign brings together a large range of partners, including the Ford Foundation, UNECA, Save the Children, Plan international, Africa Child Policy Forum (ACPF) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). For more information about the campaign, go here. Apply for the Mama Cash Fund. The Mama Cash Fund supports women’s groups that:
- have the promotion of women’s, girls’ and/or trans people’s human rights as their primary mission, and not just as the focus of one of their programmes
- work from a feminist and/or women’s rights perspective
- are self-led by the women, girls and/or trans people they serve
- are not based in the United States or Canada
and that address:
- women’s inheritance rights
- women’s land and property rights
- women’s right to water and/or other natural resources
- women’s right to food security
- land grabbing
- the negative impact of extractive industries on (Indigenous) people’s land and resources and on the environment
- the negative impact of large-scale development projects, for example those related to infrastructure or agro-business\
- increasing women’s decision-making in matters of land, property and inheritance
- increasing women’s decision-making in matters of natural resource management
Mama Cash cannot support groups whose main strategies are income-generating activities, micro-credit programmes, academic research, or social and health care service provision. Mama Cash funding can be used to cover core costs of organizations (for example office rent, salaries, volunteer stipends and staff training). Activities or project costs can also be part of a Mama Cash grant. Mama Cash prioritizes organizations with annual operating budgets under 200,000 euros. The deadline to apply is July 1. For more information, go here.
Tools You Can Use
Stop Violence Against Girls in School By ActionAid Internaitonal Recent reviews on what works to challenge violence against girls have concluded that the evidence base is weak, and there is a clear need for robust research to help inform interventions. This study attempts to address this gap in knowledge by analyzing the influence of a multi-level intervention, ActionAid’s Stop Violence Against Girls in School, a five year project (2008-3013) funded by the UK’s Big Lottery Fund. To access the report, you can go here:
Voice and Agency – Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity By the World Bank ‘Voice and Agency – Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity’ is a new report by the World Bank that shines a spotlight on the value of voice and agency, the patterns of constraints that limit their realization, and the associated costs to women, girls, and their families, communities, and societies. The report highlights promising policies and interventions and identifies priority areas where further research and more evidence are needed. Underlining agency’s intrinsic and concrete value, the report puts advancing women’s and girls’ voices and agency squarely on the international development agenda. For more information, go here.
Intersex for Allies By OII Australia and ACON These three new resources address a lack of awareness of intersex-related matters within the LGBT and broader communities. They provide general information about on intersex issues, information to empower services to provide appropriate and sensitive care to intersex clients, and provide information and referrals to help parents of intersex children. To access the materials go here.
Achieving Transformative Feminist Leadership: A Toolkit for Organisations and Movements By CREA The Toolkit aims to help individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing a feminist social change agenda–an agenda based on the belief that all development and social justice must be rooted in gender and social equality. The Toolkit is part of CREA’s continuous endeavor to strengthen feminist leadership of women and grassroots organizations, seeking to further the transformative goals of the feminist movement. The Toolkit is based largely on the concept paper entitled Feminist Leadership for Social Transformation: Clearing the Conceptual Cloud by Srilatha Batliwala, published by CREA in 2011.
The State of Trans* and Intersex Organizing By Global Action for Trans* Equality (GATE) and American Jewish World Service (AJWS) This report summarizes the findings of our survey of 340 trans* and intersex groups, conducted from July to September 2013. It shows current data and themes in the funding of trans* and intersex groups and the challenges and obstacles experienced by these groups in accessing resources. It also highlights key differences in access to funding between groups that are led by trans* and intersex activists, and those that are not. The findings show clearly that groups led by trans* and intersex activists are under resourced—yet in the midst of this challenging funding context they are doing remarkably successful work to promote the rights and improve the lives of their constituents and communities. To access this report, go here.
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